Last week, developers mistakenly introduced a bug to Team Fortress 2 when attempting a routine update on summer cosmetic items. The bug unleashed a ridiculously high drop rate for Unusual hats upon some crate openings. While TF2 uses hats merely as cosmetics within the multiplayer first-person shooter, a large economy has bloomed over the years revolving around the hats, and the bug threatened to crash the market.
Dubbed the Crate Depression of 2019, the market was flooded with rare hats, some selling on average for $100 USD before the bug was introduced. After the market became oversaturated, prices dropped dramatically, therefore threatening the market as a whole. At the time, Valve acted swiftly, trade-locking all Unusual hats from crates opened during the bugged period. A more permanent solution has finally been announced and is expected to begin full effect by next week, according to a post on the Team Fortress 2 website.
Valve has decided to amend the original trade-lock placed on the Unusual hats received during the bug timeframe, making the very first hat players received this way tradable again. All subsequent Unusual hats would remain permanently trade-locked in order to preserve the market. The developers understand that one of the main points of the Unusuals is the benefit of trading them, so they have also offered a buyout of sorts. “If you decide that you would rather not have these trade-locked hats on your account, you may instead elect a full refund on any number of them,” reads the post.
Some players who benefitted from the bug recognized it was a mistake and deleted their erroneous loot, either from fear of retribution by Valve or realization that the increased rate violated the spirit of the game. Rest assured, Valve is aware that these players exist and are willing to accommodate them as well, noting that “hats from bugged crates deleted before the tradable date will be restored to your accounts with the same restrictions described above.”
“Item tradability, restoration, and the refund support page will be made available in about a week’s time,” reads the post, with a reminder to check back on the website for the exact date this period will begin. Refunds for those that want them will be made available through the Steam Community Market or the Mann Co. store, depending on where the purchase was made.